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Buy on: Bandcamp
Type: Full-Length
Release Date: October 24th, 2000
Genre: Thrash
1. Thunderhead
2. Bleed Me
3. What I'm Missin'
4. Death Comes Out To Play
5. Let It Burn
6. I, Hurricane
7. Left Hand Man
8. Blown Away
9. My Name Is Pain
10. Can't Kill A Dead Man

Review by Felix on March 20, 2021.

Overkill have a good and a bad side. They've been around for so long that I cannot, with the best will in the world, ignore my own ageing process from the ever-growing number of their records. On the other hand, D.D. and Blitz are two real-life examples of the amazing fact that there are still people who are actually even older than me. Regardless of these rather biological aspects, the gentlemen have mostly released good albums. Bloodletting is, in my view, one of the better ones in their discography.

That is not to say that their contribution to the preservation of the music industry at the close of the 20th century is convincing in every respect. For example, 'Left Hand Man' remains completely faceless. In addition, the band members, as unfortunately more often in their career, become victims of their 50-minute dogma. The record could easily be five to ten minutes shorter. On the basis of 'What I'm Missin'', this theory can be proven. What I'm missing here (pun!) is simply a healthy amount of compactness and the realisation that not every idea which is buzzing through the room is useful for a song. Despite good parts, this number is a bit exhausting overall and if D.D. Verni didn't have this allergy to 3-minute killers, a better result would have been achieved here. The direct neighbour 'Death Comes Out to Play' also has a somewhat confused concept. Apparently, no matter what it takes, a grinding mid-tempo part has to be included, although its stop-and-go guitars are counterproductive to the rest of the track's flow. Still, Overkill presents a strong, rapid-fire number here. It, like all the other songs of course, draws benefit from the very profound, heavy-as-a-barrel production. From the first notes of the crunchy opener 'Thunderhead', the listener is overrun by an acoustic tank that leaves little but shredded flesh and crushed bones.

Of course, Bloodletting is a child of its time and spirit. Some then-modern aberrations influence the riffing, and this is rarely to the advantage of the compositions. Original smash hits like 'Rotten To The Core', 'Hammerhead' or 'Deny the Cross' are searched for in vain. Instead, the team around D.D. takes the one or other turn too much, and some "special effects", such as the idiotic "you gonna die" voice in 'I, Hurricane' go down the drain. But Overkill are fighters. The quintet always finds its way back to the right path and almost every song has more sunshine than shadow.

The solid 'Can't Kill A Dead Man' (what a new insight) ends an album that delivers good home cooking, but at the same time, like many of the formation's works, stands in the shadow of their own monuments like Feel The Fire or Horrorscope. All the players are in good form; Blitz as always a bit very nasal, but at the same time also nicely vile, the guitarists with appealing solos and the rhythm section without fault. Only the beauty of simplicity - does anyone still remember 'Blood And Iron' - is missing. But who knows, maybe the title of the record refers exactly to this circumstance, the bloodletting of simplicity. That would be fitting.

Rating: 7.2 out of 10


Review by Fran on March 20, 2021.

Necroshine was intended to be an interstellar return to the heavy metal roots for Overkill but not in their classic speed metal outfit, they were still trying to make a proper groove/thrash record with balls. For Bloodletting they made a personnel change but the concept remained the same, and even if they haven’t achieved it yet I think it was the right decision. In this album the guitarist is Dave Linsk, who is very technical like Bobby Gustafson but has a less orthodox style, closer to the street punk image of the band. While the drummer is still Tim Mallare since 1992, for this record they tied up the rhythmic palm muted riffs with the bass and the bass drums a little bit more, so they gained more rhythmic variety and avoided the linear double bass sections to give the modern thrash touch, lots of bass and surround effect without losing the heaviness. I think that’s exactly where they started to build the “good” groove/thrash formula, regaining weight and variety in textures on the low end.

DD Verni is a great songwriter too but he can't write a whole album on its own, there’s a meaner and more intelligent riffing on this record, more guitar oriented due to Linsk’s influence. That’s why this record is a little bit more imaginative and creative than their previous one, even if it’s conceptually the same. The fact that he is such a gifted guitar player also helps to broaden composition possibilities like the return of the twin melodic leads alla Iron Maiden that were common on the early days with Mr. Bobby Gustafson, this is the first time Overkill actually has a guitar player that can play as well as him. The intro of 'Left Hand Man' is ballad like and also shows nice arpeggio skills from Mr. Linsk’s. The next song, 'Blown Away' is super heavy, slow and menacing like 'Who Tends The Fire' of Skullcrusher; I didn’t see that coming. 'My Name Is Pain' is a double bass drum fast number, Taking Over style.

Those pleasing surprises at the end of the record make it even stronger but overall it’s a groove/thrash album. They left a few hints of what was coming next though, but the record is actually pretty enjoyable on its own even if it's not their best. The production is even rawer than on Necroshine, which I consider another plus and in general the songs are heavier and darker.

Rating: 7.1 out of 10